I haven’t done one of these general News & Opinion links in a while. I came across some interesting stories this week, so I thought I’d share them.
Mitt Romney debates Martin Luther King, Jr. Romney doesn’t fare too well.
Before he dropped out of the presidential race, Rick Perry said at a debate that South Carolina is at war with the federal government. [Huffington Post] Since that wasn’t the first time Perry alluded to secession (for those who forgot, South Carolina was the first to secede from the Union at the start the Civil War), shouldn’t he be considered un-American?
Whether or not Jay-Z will stop using the word bitch in his music, would he need to do more? [Guardian] By the way, will he stop using “nigger,” too?
Administrators at a Utah high school reject the use of a cougar as its mascot because of the word’s meaning. Not the mountain lion definition, but the other “derogatory” definition. [SportsGrid]
Every now and then someone will tell me a story, when suddenly, it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. They’ll say, “And then there was this big black guy.”
“Big and black??” I’ll say if I’m feeling cheeky. “Oh no.”
The story usually falls apart from there.
This isn’t to say there aren’t imposing and intimidating black men, as there are imposing and intimidating men of every race. Some rappers purposely strike an intimidating pose to show how tough and strong they are. That intimidation, though, also has to do with perception.
In a New York Times piece about white female rappers, Touré writes:
For many Americans, black male rappers are entrancing because they give off a sense of black masculine power — that sense of strength, ego and menace that derives from being part of the street — or because of the seductive display of black male cool.
In that passage, he writes as much about rappers as the public’s view of them: Menacing. Seductive.
The same is true for the person who tells the story with “the big black guy.” That description often says more about the storyteller than the person in the story.